The actions of the “Life of Alpilles” shall be conducted in the Special Protection Area (SPA) of the Alpilles, which is a Natura 2000 site designated under the Birds Directive.
What is Natura 2000?
Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of the EU nature & biodiversity policy. It is an EUwide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which were designated under the 1979 Birds Directive. Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves where all human activities are excluded. Whereas, the network will certainly include nature reserves. Most of the land is likely to continue to be privately owned and the emphasis will be on ensuring that future management is sustainable, both ecologically and economically.
Covering an area of 27,000 hectares, the SPA Alpilles includes the massif and the foothills of the Alpilles. There are different types of habitats, often in mosaic, which are characterized by their vegetation:
- Semi-open and bushy scrubland.
- Rocky habitats (cliffs, outcrops and scree) with numerous hollows and crevices which are important for fauna and flora.
- Forest habitats with large areas of pine forests (Aleppo pines) and relicts of Holm oak stands
- Cultivated landscape with vineyards and olive groves adjacent to the limestone massif.
There are also other cultivated areas with cereals, grasslands, etc. This important diversity is a source of the great ecological value of the Alpilles, including bird species..
Essential human activities for the preservation
of the biodiversity
Traditional agriculture is essential to maintain the balance of the different habitats of the Alpilles. It forms the landscape and maintains the ecological richness of the environment. Thus, over the centuries the Alpilles have become an adequate habitat for many bird species.
Maintaining active and sustainable farming practices is essential for the preservation of these bird species, which is one of the objectives of the project “Life des Alpilles.”